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WHEN I GROW UP by Benjamin Zephaniah


by Benjamin Zephaniah ; photographed by Prodeepta Das

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84780-059-6
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Zephaniah answers that oft-asked adult inquiry, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with 13 examples of everyday grown-ups following their dreams.

His light yet substantial rhymed lyrics and Das’ engaging workplace photographs spotlight a wonderfully provocative array of career options. From Maggie the rocket scientist —“all that Maggie wants to do is / Tour the universe”—to Ness the jumbo-jet pilot, David the farmer or Shami the lawyer—“Nobody should bully you, / Shami knows that this is true”—these verse portraits depict actual professionals who not only love what they do, but whose work enriches the lives of others. American readers may be challenged by a few Briticisms from the likes of Bubblz the “Maths Clown,” vet Michelle—“If your dog is dodgy / Or your snake is sloppy / Michelle can fix it with a pill”—or, most hilariously, Ajmer the “Lollypop Man,” whom American children should easily recognize as a crossing guard, not a purveyor of sweets. Such cultural linguistic differences only heighten the great ethnic, gender and vocational diversity of the collection, offering countless jumping-off points for discussion. In the short bios accompanying the poems and photos, Zephaniah also smartly expands the range of future possibilities to include living in more than one place and the freedom to change your mind a number of times about careers.

A bold, inspiring work for forward-thinking early readers. (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)